Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Personality and Motivations for Playing Online Games

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Personality and Motivations for Playing Online Games

Article excerpt

The popularity of multiplayer online games has received worldwide attention, especially as many players spend hours participating daily and interacting with other players online, revealing their strong motivation to play online games. Firms and various advertisers, such as Google, are interested in understanding who is playing online games and for what reasons (Adam & Johnson, 2007), and therefore these managers need to gain more knowledge about online game players.

Previous studies have proposed that players experience varied motivation to engage in online game playing, including discovery, role-playing, teamwork, advancement, or escapism (Yee, 2006). However, little is known about the source of those motivations. Personality has emerged as being influential in various contexts (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Teng, Huang, & Tsai, 2007), which suggests that personality traits could be a source of motivation. This study was aimed at investigating the relationship between personality traits and game-playing motivations and therefore contributing to knowledge about online game players.

FIVE-FACTOR MODEL AND FIVE MOTIVATIONS FOR ONLINE GAME PLAYING

The five-factor model of personality remains one of the most widely accepted, comprehensive typologies of personality traits (McCrae, Jang, Livesley, Riemann, & Angleitner, 2001; Yamagata et al., 2006). Its five constituent traits include openness (i.e., tendency to be curious, creative, and imaginative; Bakker, van der Zee, Lewig, & Dollard, 2006), conscientiousness (i.e., tendency to be organized, efficient, and systematic; Barrick & Mount, 1991; Saucier, 1994), extraversion (tendency to be sociable, talkative, and ambitious; Pervin, 1993), agreeableness (tendency to be cooperative, considerate, and tolerant; Barrick & Mount, 1991; Saucier, 1994), and neuroticism (tendency to experience negative emotions; Bakker et al., 2006; Teng, Hsu, Chien, & Chang, 2007). Because the five-factor model of personality has previously been applied successfully to Internet and online game contexts (Landers & Lounsbury, 2006; Teng, 2008), it is reasonable to expect that it will relate to motivations for online game play.

Yee (2006) proposed a comprehensive typology of motivations for playing online games, including ten specific categories. The present study covered five of those ten motivations that were likely to relate to the five factors of personality, namely: the discovery, role-playing, teamwork, advancement, and escapism motivations. Yee (2006, p. 773), defined discovery motivation as the process of "finding and knowing things that most other players don't know about". Role-playing motivation has been defined as "creating a persona with a background story and interacting with other players to create an improvised story". Teamwork motivation has been defined as "deriving satisfaction from being part of a group effort". Advancement motivation has been defined as "the desire to gain power, progress rapidly, and accumulate in-game symbols of wealth or status". Finally, escapism motivation has been defined "as using online games to "relax, escape from real life, and avoid real-life problems".

HYPOTHESES

Openness has been reported to be characterized by curiosity (Bakker et al., 2006). Curiosity can determine exploratory behavior (Berlyne, 1950), so it can be reasonably expected that high-openness individuals will like exploring. Thus, it may be that players with high openness will particularly enjoy exploring the game world in terms of discovering items or rewards, solving quests, and experiencing the stories in online games. This preference for finding and knowing things that most other players do not know is consistent with Yee's (2006) definition of discovery motivation.

Hypothesis 1: Openness will positively relate to discovery motivations for playing online games.

Persons high in openness have been shown to be imaginative (Barrick & Mount, 1991). …

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